2020 / City Slang

Reviewed by Sebastian Markovic

An album about relationships, changes and a “back to basics” for Caribou

Amidst the hibernation of music lovers all over the world, Caribou comes out with a new album after five years. There are certain things to expect from Daniel Snaith: dancefloor-ready songs with electronic arrangements that are coming out of left field.

Suddenly provides some of that, but also a fresh new take on the Caribou-isms.

The dreamy synths and Daniel’s quiet vocals open up the album with Sister, a somber little song talking about a broken brother-sister relationship. This dreamy mood continues on songs like Magpie, which first part sounds like an old Beatles record playing somewhere far in the distance.

You and I starts with soft, 80’s synth pop sounds that builds up for a minute until you can hear the first beat switch of the album. It provides a special spark in this song but also essentially brings it to a halt, as the synth line seems to be catching up afterwards. This overcomplexity comes up again in Sunny’s Time, where a beautifully warped piano becomes more and more drowned in a chopped up male vocal sample.

The main theme of the album becomes clearer with New Jade: intimate relationships be between siblings or lovers, broken apart or warped like the instrumentals on the album.

Now you’re gone for good
Been through more than anyone should
Ending time, now see
How much better off you’ll be

Home is a chilled and uplifting alternative R&B flip, something that Folamour would release, juxtaposed by Daniel’s high-pitched vocals. Here the album’s versatility really shines through. The instrumental of Like I Loved You gives away 90’s R&B vibes and talks about similar topics as the rest of the album until It builds up into elements of dub and Spanish guitar. It’s my personal favorite from the album.

Let’s come to the Album’s most banger-potential song with Never come back. A very danceable tune reminiscent of Sun and Our Love. Shurely you will hear that song on some festivals this summer (once we can be outside again). Ravi similarly sounds like something from Daniel’s other, more beat-driven moniker Daphni. Only the faint and short vocal line makes it a distinct Caribou song.

Suddenly fits somewhere in between club and home listening but feels more layered and cerebral than some of Daniel’s previous releases.

In a sense, Caribou came back to his Indietronica roots by leaving the dancefloor (mostly) behind on this Album. Here we hear a Caribou that fuses different styles with ease. It’s a great album to prepare you for summer but also channels your melancholia of still having to stay in.